YOUR VIEW: Is Thanksgiving a Vanishing Holiday?

By  //  November 22, 2016

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Help others and you will preserve Thanksgiving

In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days. (Wikipedia image)

In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days. (Wikipedia image)

I walked into Target the other day with my wife and immediately stopped to get some Starbucks coffee. My wife explained that some holiday-flavored coffee would help me get through a “shopping experience.”

opinion-1802I don’t mind coffee as long as it tastes like it has a Snickers bar in it.

The female barista and I got into an interesting conversation about the paper cups that Starbucks is using for the Christmas season and the controversy surrounding it.

The nice lady informed us that the previous day a customer had asked her if the barista was allowed to greet them with the words, “Merry Christmas.” She said, “I could, but I would rather say Happy Thanksgiving since it is first.”

We laughed and I walked away thinking that as Christmas continues to grow and expand its calendar boundaries, is Thanksgiving a holiday that is getting swallowed up in the waves of Christmas preparation?

It used to be that the lights went up and the house was decorated after Thanksgiving, but now it seems like we immediately go from Halloween to Christmas.

The events of December must be planned further in advance. The shopping starts in early autumn. The planned giving and charitable causes are initiated earlier and earlier in the year as many churches and non-profit organizations depend on end of the year donations.

All of this causes Thanksgiving to sort of be an appetizer for the main meal in December.

Perhaps just being thankful is on the decline. Earlier this year on a visit to China, it was explained to me that each of the ancient Chinese dynasties were overthrown after the 20th generation. Apparently, each generation following the one that came to power would become less appreciative and less willing to make the sacrifices to sustain the dynasty.

My generation of baby boomers is not the same as the World War II generation. My children are digital natives and I feel like a digital immigrant. Each succeeding generation has greater affluence and greater challenges. One of those challenges is to be intentional in bringing to remembrance the things that we all should be thankful for.

Sometimes it takes a crisis to remember what we should be thankful for. I grew up on the East coast of Florida remembering how communities came together when a hurricane would blow through.

I remember how America responded when our World Trade Centers and Pentagon buildings were attacked on September 11th and thousands lost their lives. Everyone paused to be thankful.

Recently, more than 100 people in Paris lost their lives in senseless bombings and shootings. Many were injured and many more families and friends were affected by the loss. The ripple effect of a tragedy is widespread and part of that ripple effect is the sense of thankfulness from people who did not suffer any direct personal loss.

Thanksgiving was a holiday that was established so that we would never forget to remember. We would take time to remember how blessed we are. We would be able to do that without a tragedy to remind us of everything that we take for granted on a daily basis.

Thanksgiving was a holiday that was established so that we would never forget to remember. We would take time to remember how blessed we are. We would be able to do that without a tragedy to remind us of everything that we take for granted on a daily basis.

Football, food and family are some of my favorite things and they are all on display at Thanksgiving, but perhaps faith has been forced to the outskirts and should be invited back to the dinner table.

Thanksgiving comes in many forms and in many ways throughout the year. Any trip to a third world country or a mission’s trip to an overseas orphanage and we are reminded of how blessed we are. But one does not have to go to a foreign land to find Thanksgiving.

Why not spend this Thanksgiving volunteering? Serve food to those who are hungry. Provide warmth and encouragement by lending a hand to someone in need.

“Hands for Healing” is a community based non-profit organization that exists in Palm Bay to help people who are hurting. They feed almost 500 people a week.

You can contact them through their Facebook page, “Hands for Healing International” or their website, www.hands4healing.org

Help others and you will preserve Thanksgiving. Not just as a holiday but as a special place in your heart.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pastor David Myers went to Apostolic Bible Institute in 1981 at the age of 17 years old and graduated with honors three years later with a Bachelor’s degree in Apostolic Studies. After evangelizing for a number of years, teaching youth seminars and preaching youth crusades, he returned to Palm Bay to work with his father, who pastored First Pentecostal Church in Palm Bay, Florida.

David Myers

David Myers

Pastor Myers served as Florida District Bible Quiz Coordinator, Southeastern Bible Quiz Coordinator and the Florida District Youth President before returning to school in 1994 and graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Systematic Theology from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida.

In 1996 Pastor Myers enrolled in law school at Barry University School of Law in Orlando, Florida. In 1997, Pastor Myers studied at Oxford University in England. In 1998, he studied at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland under U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and in 1999, at McGill College in Montreal, Canada under the former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, William Rehnquist.  Pastor Myers graduated Cum Laude with a Juris Doctorate degree from Barry University School of Law in 2000.

After being elected in 1998 as senior pastor of the First Pentecostal Church in Palm Bay, Pastor Myers oversaw construction on a new 28,000 square foot church complex. The construction was completed in 2000 and won a national design award. The new construction combined with an excellent leadership team propelled the church to flourish with new members and triple in membership.

In 2007, the auditorium was expanded to seat 1,000 people and construction began on a 22,000-foot Family Life Center.  This facility was completed in 2008 and was named in honor of Bishop J.E. Myers.

In 2011, Pastor Myers published his first book titled “The Supremacy Clause, the laws of man that reveal the love of God” through Fitly Spoken Press. His knowledge of U.S. law and the Word of God allows him to construct a very powerful and informative book on how the scripture has shaped our laws.

In 2015, Pastor Myers published his second book entitled, “Heaven, we have a Problem, 13 miracles from the Apollo 13 mission that will rocket your faith.”  In this book Pastor Myers explores how to recover from an unexpected explosion in your life using the Apollo 13 mission of returning safely to earth and Biblical principles as a guide.

Pastor Myers passion is missions’ work overseas.  He has travelled to 107 countries to build churches, orphanages and schools.  Pastor Myers is the director of Hands for Healing, a non-profit humanitarian organization that provides disaster relief, food assistance and construction to those in need locally and globally.

Pastor Myers and his wife Aimee are blessed with identical twin sons Gregory David and Luke Ellis along with a beautiful girl, Sophia Aimee.


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